John Rahm was a welcome winner for the column in last week's season-finale but we move swiftly on to a new season with this quintet of each-way selections for the Alfred Dunhill Championship...
"Tied ninth at the Irish Open back in the summer, he's (Zander Lombard) kicked on again in the last two months with tied seventh in the Open de Espana, tied 17th in the Turkish Airlines Open and tied eighth in the Nedbank Golf Challenge."
EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 7 Places
Dave Tindall: Back Zander Lombard @ 20/1
South Africans have dominated their home event and, until 12 months ago, we'd had a Springbok winner every year since 2011. Whether the changes to the course and different grass that were put in ahead of that renewal had an effect remains to be seen but the South African who coped best with the revamp was Zander Lombard. The man from Pretoria finished three shots back in tied third and shot in the 60s in each of his final three rounds. What really bumps him to the front of the queue this week is his current form. Tied ninth at the Irish Open back in the summer, he's kicked on again in the last two months with tied seventh in the Open de Espana, tied 17th in the Turkish Airlines Open and tied eighth in the Nedbank Golf Challenge. That latter performance, again on his local South African turf, threatened to be much better after he'd taken the 36-hole lead but he didn't get the breaks on the weekend and clearly his game is in excellent shape.
Paul Krishnamurty: Back Hugo Leon @ 55/1
Leopard Creek has always been a track that offers a significant advantage to big-hitters and scoring on the par-fives invariably proves decisive. On that basis and what he's achieved in recent months in higher standard events, Hugo Leon looks under-rated in the betting. He ranked third amongst this field for par-five performance on the European Tour schedule that finished last week and top for strokes gained: off the tee. In terms of results, seven of his last 13 starts yielded top-25 finishes, including four top-tens. The only negative is this Chilean's lack of form in South Africa, although that is factored into the odds and could have been said before any of those recent efforts in Europe.
Steve Rawlings: Back Hennie Otto @ 125/1
It's now five years since 43-year-old Hennie Otto won the third of his three European Tour titles (Italian Open) but if his form on the Sunshine Tour is anything to go by this year, he's not quite ready to be written off as has been. He's been fairly consistent throughout 2019 and he won his 13th Sunshine Tour title - the Sibaya Challenge - just two months ago. Otto won the South African Tour Championship at this week's venue - Leopard Creek - back in 2003 and he's twice finished inside the top-seven here in this event. In what looks a decidedly weak renewal, Otto looks a fair price at an industry best 125/1 with seven places up for grabs.
Joe Dyer: Back David Drysdale @ 100/1
Local knowledge and growing up playing similar type courses are just a few reasons why South African born players have such a good record at Leopard Creek. If that's the case then Scotland's David Drysdale must have some South African blood running through his veins given his record in this event. The 44-year-old has recorded six consecutive top 25 finishes at this venue, has five finishes of T11 or better from his last eight visits to Leopard Creek, and last year put in his best performance yet when finishing runner-up over the revamped course. Admittedly there isn't much in his current form to have huge confidence, but at an industry-best 100/1, and back at arguably his favourite venue, it doesn't take much of an imagination to envisage Drysdale going well again.
Mike Norman: Back Niklas Lemke @ 80/1
Believe me, I've shocked myself by not going for a South African player this week, but if I had have gone down that route then I'd have looked very closely at the returning Charl Schwartzel at 18/1. His course form is simply outstanding but he has a long injury absence to overcome and it might be a few months before we see him getting back to his best. So instead it's Sweden's Niklas Lemke who gets my vote this week. The 35-year-old has had some eye-catching performances this year, most notably when finishing T8 at the British Masters and more recently a T9 at the European Open, that coming just a few weeks after a top 20 at the Scandinavian Invitational. That form is decent, and the long-hitting Swede - distance from the tee is an advantage this week - now returns to Leopard Creek where he finished an excellent seventh 12 months ago on his course debut. With course form standing up exceptionally well at this venue, a joint-industry best quote of 80/1 is worth chancing in the hope that Lemke enjoys his second outing at Leopard Creek.
2019 Season P/L to date: -£527.55
- DP World Tour Championship, John Rahm @ 13/2 - WIN (Steve)
- Turkish Airlines Open, Robert McIntyre @ 25/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- WGC HSBC Champions, Matthew Fitzpatrick @ 40/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- Portugal Masters, Chris Paisley @ 35/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- Open de France, Richie Ramsay @ 66/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- Alfred Dunhill Links, Joakim Lagergren @ 100/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- BMW PGA Championship, Rafa Cabrera-Bello @ 50/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- Omega European Masters, Matthias Schwab @ 80/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- Scandinavian Invitational, Alex Levy @ 70/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- Scottish Open, Andrea Pavan @ 110/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- BMW International Open, Jordan Smith @ 28/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- US Open, Gary Woodland @ 70/1 - WIN (Dave)
- Made In Denmark, Pablo Larrazabal @ 80/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- USPGA Championship, Brooks Koepka @ 11/1 - WIN (Steve)
- Volvo China Open, David Lipsky @ 33/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- WGC Dell Match Play, Matt Kuchar @ 40/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- WGC Mexico Championship, Cameron Smith @ 60-1 - PLACE (Paul)
- WGC Mexico Championship, Paul Casey @ 35/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- World Super 6, Scott Vincent @ 80/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- World Super 6, Paul Dunne @ 50/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- Abu Dhabi Championship, Joost Luiten @ 80/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- Mauritius Open, Justin Harding @ 30/1 - PLACE (Dave)
*2018 P/L: +£727.16
*2017 P/L: -£306.84
*2016 P/L: +£267.58
*2015 P/L: +£958.37
*2014 P/L: +£251.75